News & Commentary written by Kiersten and Angie Bloechl-Karlsen

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A photo of Kiersten and Angie Bloechl-Karlsen

Kiersten and Angie Bloechl-Karlsen


Lifelong Wisconsinites, Kiersten and Angie met as students at UW Oshkosh. Angela was born and raised in Manawa, a small town about 45 miles northwest of Oshkosh that’s best known for its rodeo, and Kiersten grew up in Burlington. Since meeting and falling in love, they have built a life together and started a family in Oshkosh. Kiersten and Angie are the proud parents of their two year old daughter, Maiken, and they are planning to grow their family and have more children soon.

They both want to raise their children in a loving, faithful community, which is why they started attending a local Lutheran church when Angie was pregnant with Maiken. Even though they are the only same-sex couple in the congregation, they feel welcomed and supported just as any other family at the church.

In addition to their busy and fulfilling life as parents, both Kiersten and Angie work outside the home. Kiersten works in Appleton as a corporate trainer for staff serving people with mental illness and developmental disabilities in residential facilities. Angie is the Chief of Operations at Valley Pest Control, a family business that her father and uncle started together over 30 years ago. For both of them, contributing to their community and supporting their family are top priorities.

Being recognized as a family is important to the couple. Before the birth of their daughter, they took each other’s last names in hopes that hospitals and schools would understand them both as Maiken’s parents. Kiersten wants to be able to adopt Maiken as a second parent, but currently Wisconsin law prevents her from being recognized as Maiken’s mom. Now all she has is a “babysitter card” – a medical treatment consent for minors card that parents in Wisconsin sign and give to childcare providers to show that they have parental consent to seek emergency treatment for a child when the parents aren’t immediately available. Kiersten and Angie hope that Wisconsin will recognize them as married and treat their family just like any other family in their home state.

Like many Wisconsinites, Kiersten and Angie dreamed of the day they would get married in their home state, making a life-long commitment in front of friends and family. They were overjoyed by Judge Crabb’s ruling that struck down the discriminatory ban that kept them from getting married, and rushed to the courthouse to get married just before the decision was stayed and marriage for same sex couples was put on hold.

Kiersten said, “If we’d had time to plan, we would have done it all differently. I wouldn’t have gotten married at 4pm on a Friday in my work polo! But it all turned out really nice in the end.”